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I was disappointed to read Chuck Hartke's recent
letter to the editor. I was surprised that Hartke, as director of
the Illinois Department of Agriculture, was unaware of Illinois'
letter was posted by the Decatur Herald & Review. Scroll down on
the Herald & Review page to view the letter.]
Last year, I sponsored and passed into law
PA 94-0216 creating the Illinois AgrAbility Act to assist
disabled farmers return to farming. Despite the fact that some 200
farm workers in Illinois are permanently injured each year, the
administration to date has yet to fund the program.
I am also disappointed that while critical funding for AgriFIRST
has been cut and funding for C-FAR remains anemic, a new line item
was created last year to send $5 million to the Cook County
Cooperative Extension Service, as well as another $5 million for
fiscal 2007. And while there are very few farms remaining in Cook
County, the Cook County Cooperative Extension Service will receive
more money under the administration's budget proposal than C-FAR and
AgriFIRST combined. These are dollars the state should spend on ag
research, development and expansion of new markets for Illinois'
[to top of second column in this letter]
Agriculture is vitally important to the overall health of our
state's economy. In my role as a lawmaker, I will oppose any
attempts to shortchange downstate and our agriculture community and
will continue to fight to increase our investment in agriculture and
(Posted April 22, 2006)
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